Intern Story – My Time at Pathways Africa, Namibia
- by Stella Emvula January 29, 2018
I was born in Namibia but grew up in France, Ethiopia & the United States. I am a transfer student from Plymouth University that was studying Animal Behaviour & Welfare but am changing to Wildlife Management through distance learning whilst interning at CCF.
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit countless zoos and national parks around the world, which sparked my love for animals. As I grew up I always wondered how the animals native to Africa came to be in zoos around the world. Zoos help people appreciate species they wouldn’t normally get a chance to see, but I prefer to see them in the wild. When I got older, I decided to study conservation because I think that we need to protect and sustain the land they are native to so that they can continue to live in the wild.
Earlier this month I was given the great opportunity to volunteer at the Pathways Conference hosted here in Namibia by CCF & Colorado State University, where the theme this year was “Living with Wildlife”. I got to attend numerous presentations and workshops that focused on mitigating human wildlife conflict.
The workshops that dealt with issues pertaining to human wildlife conflict interested me the most as it is a field I would like to work in. I listened to talks on trophy hunting & poaching and understanding the coexistence, tolerance and acceptance of positive human-wildlife interactions. I learnt that about the community perceptions of these sensitive subjects and its economic impact on conservation. We are known for our CBNRM, working with the locals and giving them the right to manage wildlife but also benefit from it through tourism, doing so in a positive way in terms of conservation. So it was great to see scholars that have so many mixed views come together and deduce that when it came down to it, a conversation needs to be had between all parties involved (for example, the communities whose livelihoods are affected) and acknowledge that there are different types of poaching and trophy hunting that are not as “extreme” as ‘canned hunting’, for example.
The conference was a wonderful experience, I learnt so much and got to meet so many different people from all over the world that were willing to have discuss difficult topics about conservation that others are not.
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